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LETTER: Dying to get out


We’re all “Dying to Get Out”. (Funny how we spend so much time and money buying, building, remodeling, and furnishing; only to find out we can’t stand the place!) 

We trust, however, the recommendations for the greater good in staying home, social distancing, and clean, clean, clean. 

When we do get out, what will we get out to? What will have changed? What will need to change? 

Hopefully, the real change will be in ourselves.  A lot of us will plan better financially. A lot of us will reprioritize our decisions on time and investments of money. That’s probably good. 

A lot will look to governments to do the same. A key point will be our voices. If we don’t change how we speak to the politicians, we will very quickly be as unprepared for the next pandemic as we were for this one. For example:

• We allow governments to build $300-million libraries (Calgary) without an analysis of what is spent on architectural need and want. We do not further analyze the increased costs of maintenance and repair of such a building. 

• We allow governments to prioritize subsidizing a Funicular (Edmonton) because someone has the idea that it will “benefit” the downtown. Maybe it will. Let the business people pay for it if they believe in it. They can reduce the number of flyers they spend money on that goes in my mailbox and then into the trash, and put that money towards funding such an idea. 

• We allow governments to put $1 billion (and more) toward Olympics to “stimulate” business. I’m sure today the 71-year-old in a health care facility in High Prairie looks back fondly on those Olympic moments. Let the Olympic committee fund the Olympics and make money. 

• Billions from taxpayers for “transit” that proves to be one of the key problems in transmission of colds and flu. 

We need our voices to speak together on “if” decisions. Yes, government, you can build an edifice, “if” we have proper levels of equipment in hospitals. 

Yes, government, you can have a million-dollar fireworks display, “if” we have emergency medical reserves. 

Yes, government, you can have new libraries, "if" you can show you have designed it to be efficient, practical and it has books! 

Yes, government, you can buy the new piece of art for the gallery, “if” you have researched what currently is in the basement of those galleries and assessed what is hoarding, and what is realistically able to be displayed in rotation between galleries. 

We must be prepared. The first response from government (all levels) is that "it’s in the budget." We are all changing our budget priorities for our futures. Change theirs. They will ask for more. We, however, have learned that we can’t go to our boss and just ask for more. We are their boss. We set the priorities. 

We are all considering our own choices for our own futures. Let us not drop the ball in terms of the country's and our children’s futures.  

Alan Otway